PhD Final Oral Exam – Instructions for Scheduling


Date Details
September 15, 2024 Deadline to submit final dissertation to SGS to avoid registration/fees for the Fall 2024 session.
September 30, 2024

Final date to submit defended and approved theses to ProQuest /SGS for November 2024 convocation.

Students must be registered in the Fall session if September 15 deadline above is not met.

December 16, 2024 Final available FOE date before the holiday closure.
January 6, 2025 First available FOE date after the holiday closure.
January 15, 2025 Deadline to submit final dissertation to SGS to avoid registration/fees for the winter 2025 session.
January 24, 2025 Deadline to submit final dissertation to ProQuest / SGS for March 2025 (in absentia) convocation.
April 11, 2025 Deadline to submit final dissertation to SGS for June 2025 convocation.


SGS Exam Guidelines

Both student and examiners should read the full SGS Exam Guidelines in preparation for scheduling the exam. The guidelines include information about the committee requirements and exam outcomes. Information on exam procedures are found on pages 9-14 of the guidelines. Information is also found in the SGS Calendar.

FOE Request Form

It is the supervisor’s responsibility to submit the FOE Request Form 8 weeks prior to the exam date.


Student, supervisor and department responsibilities are outlined below.

12-16 weeks (or earlier) prior to the FOE

Student: Schedules the PhD Departmental Thesis Exam and provides the dissertation to all supervisory committee members and the department ( in advance.

8-12 weeks (or earlier) prior to the FOE

Student: After the departmental exam, student makes all required corrections/revisions to their dissertation.

Supervisor/Committee: Reviews and approves the final dissertation before it is submitted for the FOE.

7-8 weeks prior to the FOE

Supervisor: The supervisor submits a request to approve/schedule the FOE to the graduate office. The request must include:

  • The exam date and time
  • The thesis title
  • The composition of the exam committee, which must include:
    • 1 to 3 members from the supervisory committee, including the supervisor(s). For clarity, in cases where co-supervision exists, each supervisor counts as 1 examiner.
    • 1-2 external examiners (not previously involved with the dissertation) from the University. A minimum of 1 is required, 2 is recommended.
    • A list of 3 possible external appraisers. The supervisor should contact their first choice to confirm they are available and willing to write an appraisal prior to submitting their name. A CV for the appraiser must be provided. The external appraiser must be a recognized expert on the subject of the thesis and external to the University. They must be at arm’s length from both the candidate and the supervisor. They must be an Associate or Full Professor and should be experienced as a successful supervisor of doctoral candidates through their defense. An appraiser from outside the academic sector may be approved in exceptional circumstances if they possess the qualifications to be appointed to an academic position at this level.
    • Please note: Quorum for the exam is at least 4 voting members, of which at least 2 must be external examiners (this can include the appraiser). SGS recommend a minimum of 5 examiners.

Graduate Office: The Associate Chair will review and approve the appraiser and other examiners. The graduate office will submit this information to SGS for final approval of the SGS Vice-Dean and if approved, will schedule the exam date/location with the SGS Doctoral Exams Office. Once approved and scheduled, the graduate office will send an appointment letter to the appraiser and will send a confirmation of all details to the examiners and student.

6-7 weeks prior to the FOE

Student: The student must provide an electronic copy of the dissertation to the graduate office. The dissertation must follow SGS Formatting Guidelines. If the thesis is not available a minimum of 6 weeks prior to the exam date, the exam may be cancelled.

Graduate Office: The graduate office will distribute the dissertation to the appraiser and other examiners.

2 weeks prior to the FOE

Graduate Office: The graduate office will forward the 1) program, 2) abstract and 3) appraisal to the examiners and student.

2 days prior to FOE

Graduate Office: A final reminder will be sent.

After the Exam

The student will have 1 month (minor corrections) up to 3 months (minor modifications) to make any revisions to the dissertation. The supervisor (or convener of a subcommittee for minor modifications) will confirm in writing to the SGS Doctoral Exams Office and cc to the department Graduate Office that the final dissertation is approved for submission. Once approved, the student may submit the final copy online. See the SGS Submission Guidelines for instructions.

Fees for Final Year of PhD Study

Academic fees for doctoral students in the final year of their program are pro-rated based on the 12-month academic year. Incidental fees are charged on a sessional basis. Doctoral students are charged for the full year but at registration they may choose to pay:

  1. The full fee. In the event that the student is not registered for the full year, a refund will be issued for any
    overpayment after the final thesis is submitted to SGS.
  2. The minimum first payment indicated on the student’s Fee Invoice in ACORN.
  3. The fee based on the expected date of completion. For example; a PhD student in year 5 who plans to complete prior July 15, 2020 pays $6,815.90 according to the 12-month schedule.

Fees will be adjusted based on the date that the student submitted their final, corrected dissertation to SGS. It may take several weeks for the adjustment to appear on ACORN once the dissertation has been received.

Please visit the Student Accounts website for fees information.


Students who have outstanding fees as of the completion deadlines above will be permitted to attend convocation. Students who owe fees who attend convocation will receive an empty envelope, which will be identical to other envelopes containing diplomas. However, such students will not receive their diploma and a financial hold is placed on the student’s financial account. Transcripts and confirmation of degree letters will not be issued until fees have been paid.

Information about convocation will be emailed to the student approximately 3 weeks prior to the convocation date. Please visit SGS Graduation and Convocation for more information.

Students who require a letter prior to convocation which confirms all degree requirements have been completed can request a Confirmation of Degree letter from SGS.